In 1892, Dr. Rudolf Diesel obtained one of world history’s most important patents. The patent covers an internal combustion engine where the heat from the compression is used for ignition of the finely atomized fuel oil. In the workshops of MAN in Augsburg he built and tested his prototypes, and in 1896 he had a stable running engine fulfilling his original goal to beat the steam engine in efficiency. The engine was named after him; the diesel engine.

Burmeister & Wain was among the first companies who had the foresight to acquire the patent. In 1898, Rudolf Diesel transferred the Danish patent rights to his famous engine to Burmeister & Wain A/S. Initially a test engine was built and tested, and a number of modifications introduced. The first diesel engine supplied by B&W, was commissioned by N. Larsen carriage factory in Copenhagen. The engine was ready to test in the spring of 1904, and it met all expectations in terms of reliability and economy.

It powered a dynamo for the production of light, and a drive shaft for the machine tools in the factory. After 20 years of operation the engine was dismantled and moved to A/S Søvangs draining plant at Hørslev in Jutland where it where it kept going seamlessly.

When B&W had its 100 years anniversary in 1943, it was decided to open a museum to tell the story of the company, for this purpose the engine was bought back, to be presented in B&W Museum as “B&W’s first commercial diesel engine”. The engine was in 2006 moved from B&W Museum to DieselHouse, where it was brought back in running condition.
B&W no. 1 is started every Thursday at 2pm and at special occasions.